December 29, 2006

Poetry Friday: The New Year's edition

I rarely make resolutions, of the New Year's -- or any other -- variety, mostly because they seem to be a sucker's bet.

Though if one did want advice for a New Year, it's hard to top Kipling; among other things I rarely do is fret about the idea of mankind in general or the last line below in particular. The poem is grand counsel for girls as well as boys, women as well as men.

For a more traditional approach to New Year's poetry, try the Academy of American Poets or The Poets' Corner. And of course, for poetry throughout the (new) year, it's hard to beat Poetry Fridays!

by Rudyard Kipling

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream -- and not make dreams your master;
If you can think -- and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings -- nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man, my son!


Updated to add that Liz B. at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy is looking after the day's round-up. Drop her a note in the comments section of her post if you have a poem for the day. Thanks, Liz, and a happy and healthy New Year to you, the chair, the fireplace, and the tea cozy! Indeed, warm wishes for a very happy New Year to all!

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